Effective February 1st, all citizens of China can travel to and enter the country. The move by China’s government comes in response to last year’s deadly riots in Urumqi that left scores dead. This measure allows citizens to freely travel within the country as well as to any other country without obtaining a visa. The measures were announced by China’s State Council for International Travel. These are very effective measures as the long delays in visa applications have caused many problems.
Chinese authorities have implemented a series of visa restrictions that have affected travelers originating from and traveling to China. These measures are part of the nation’s efforts to prevent foreigners from using local police forces to carry out crimes against Chinese citizens. Additionally, these visa restrictions are a part of China’s bid to prevent citizens traveling abroad from using local police officers as well as local hospitals to obtain healthcare. There have been no confirmed reports of any incidents of abuses of persons coming from and traveling to China via medical means. However, there have been reports of violence and negligence taking place while patients were being treated in hospitals.
The measures announced on February 1st affect all foreigners, regardless of whether they are traveling to China for business or pleasure. Officialdom has issued statements regarding the new policy for foreigners traveling to China. These restrictions affect anyone who wishes to apply for a visa from any of China’s thirty-two member states imposing travel restrictions. While travel from member states imposing travel restrictions will still be possible for citizens of certain countries if their travel plans include visits with these countries, they will need to apply for a visa in advance to do so. These are effective immediately until the day that the policy is lifted.
Traveling to China by air is now prohibited due to the new measures. All flights originating in and out of the country have been cancelled or redirected since last January. All passengers intending to travel to China will also need to apply for a visa ahead of time. Those eligible include travelers who have a valid travel visa and those who are Chinese citizens or permanent residents. In addition to requiring evidence of the above three requirements, travelers will need to present their passports as evidence of their identity and to avoid penalties for overstaying in China.
The measures announced on Jan 30th come as part of China’s effort to implement what is being described as a comprehensive tourism policy. Chinese officials claim that the measures are necessary to protect the interests of the Chinese people and prevent organized crime groups from bringing in drugs and prostitution to the country. They have also implemented tougher controls over entry into China’s domestic air cargo and over the air cargo transportation of goods to and from China.
The measures announced on Februrary 1st will affect travel to China by air as well as sea. On January 30th, the Ministry of Transport suspended all flights to and from China, except for emergency situations. On Februrary 2nd, the State Council for Higher Education released a statement saying that all state-owned airlines must suspend all flights to and from China. On January 31st, the Ministry of Transport released another statement indicating that all Chinese state owned airlines will be required to open all flights to China starting from February 1st. On February 7th, the State Council for Foreign Affairs issued another announcement indicating that China will impose an exit ban starting from February 8th.
The reasons given for instituting an exit ban are unclear. On January 8th, Chinese communist officials said that citizens traveling abroad would face harsher punishments if they were caught in the act of stealing or committing any crimes in China. On February 7th, Chinese officials said that the latest actions are aimed at implementing controls in the domestic Chinese economy. According to Chinese officials, the latest implementation of controls will target businessmen traveling to China from overseas. It is not clear if the new measure is related to the attempted robbery of an American businessman in June 2021 or another incident in which Chinese citizens were injured after trying to steal an ATM device from a bank in Shanghai.
Traveling to China has become increasingly difficult since the implementation of these new measures. On January 8th, it was reported that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a bulletin informing citizens of the January 29 festivities. The bulletin indicates that all travel to China from abroad is now banned until further notice. Additionally, on the same day the MFA released a travel advisory stating that all Chinese citizens will need to register with the ministry before travelling to China. On January 30th, the ministry warned travelers that travel to China would be severely limited as the government was undergoing political reform and upgrading of internal mechanisms. There have been no further developments as of yet.